Did you know that, during the 1920s, President Franklin D Roosevelt
was Vice President of a Company planning to build or fly
passenger airships such as the Hindenburg?
The book describes the career of the German Zeppelin Engineer,
Dr Arnstein, hired by Goodyear to design the US Navy Akron and Macon,
780 ft long flying aircraft carriers, each with 5 Curtis F9C2 fighters
inside. The man when to 2 different German Universities simultaneously
and got a degree from each in the time most of us get
just one degree at one University.
You can see the N2Y trainer used with the airships in the
National Museum of Naval Aviation at NAS Pensacola, Florida,
and the F9C2 at the Smithsonian.
The Airships themselves are on the bottom of the ocean.
Even today, our ocean-surface Aircraft Carriers operate at maybe
35 knots. The Flying Carriers of the early 1930s operated at 70 knots -
twice the speed of delivery of planes where needed. Their plane operations
were 100% successful - never a plane lost in mid-air
launch or recovery.
My father flew US Navy ASW Airships during WW2, and knew of the
Akron and Macon - the Macon had been flying just 7 years before
he was trained in 1942, and the huge WW2 Blimp hangars still standing,
for example at Lakehurst, NJ and Sunnyvale/Mountain-View, CA,
were built to handle planned WW2 rigids even bigger than the Macon.
When I showed Dad a photo of the Macon's crew, he was astonished
to see almost 100 men. Dad's small K-type airships, enthusiastically
supported by president FDR, flew with a crew of 10.
I wanted to learn more about these airships; the book does a good job.
My father had strong opinions about the fate of these airships.
The book goes into that in some detail.
It looks like military airships may be back. After 45 years with
no airships, the US Navy recently (2006) bought an airship
and is flying it out of NAS Lakehurst, NJ, as a trainer.